Monday, December 14, 2009

For Your Reading Pleasure: late Monday link list!

Today I have some links for you, because I got too distracted reading really good stuff to write some of my own! But trust me, they're worth the clicks.

Two Amandas help us kick things off with some really thoughtful blog posts: Why Some Fetuses Are "Reduced" Instead of "Aborted" by Amanda Hess at The Sexist, part of a DC local daily, and Saving Grace: Negotiating Abortion and the Catholic Faith by Amanda Mueller at NOLAFemmes, a New Orleans women writers' blog.  I feel thankful for writers who bring both sensitivity and a sharp eye to this topic on their non-abortiony blogs.

The Abortion Distortion: Just How Pro-Choice Is America, Really? at the New York Magazine -- I actually think this title/subtitle and ostensible subject are kind of tired and overdone since the beginning of this year, but in fact there's a lot of good stuff in the middle of the article: check out Claire Keyes, Peg Johnston, Jeannie Ludlow and other counselors interviewed on pages 3-4. (I also love a comment someone left on the article: "Selfish is eating all the ice cream. Abortion is a necessary back up plan. Abortion is Self-Preservation.")

Knowledge, opinions and attitudes of ObGyns on Abortion in selected Latin American countries by a researcher at CEDES in Argentina, if you're in the mood to get your social-science reading on.

Family Planning: The Link To Achieving All Eight MDGs in Global Health Magazine.  That would be the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals for 2015.  It's easily evident that not just safe abortion but also contraception make a huge difference in saving women's lives -- for example, complications from unsafe abortion account for 13% of maternal deaths (about 70-80,000 women) around the world, much more in some regions; in countries where abortion is penalized, the abortion mortality rate is 330 deaths per 100,000 abortions, yet where it's legal that figure is one in a million or even less.  So that would be a big stride toward Goal 5 of improving maternal health.  But it only takes a little imagination to see voluntary family planning's potential role in many other strategies for alleviating the strain on human welfare worldwide.

Mammogram Math in the New York Times Magazine, for even more variety in your women's health reading: a quick rundown explaining the latest batch of news about breast-cancer screening guidelines. There's been quite a bit of pushback to the announcement that a federal panel found (in agreement with existing information) that mammograms risk doing more harm than good before age 50.  I've even seen some people express suspicions that this is just a way for the government to "ration our health care"...but if you consider the math, it's probably irresponsible to make women in the relatively low-risk 40-49 decade get screened every year.

And this brings me back around to abortion -- eventually! -- via enjoyable reads from two breast cancer survivors. Gail Collins, who is awesome, gives us The Breast Brouhaha, which was awesome; it's mostly about breast cancer, though she also throws in, "Has anybody noticed that the people who darkly warn about government bureaucrats forcing insurance companies to cut back our coverage appear to be the same ones who just voted to force insurance companies to stop covering abortions? Where’s the sanctity of the marketplace when we really need it?", to which I say, my thoughts exactly!  And Barbara Ehrenreich in We Need A New Women's Health Movement echoes Collins's pointed question, talks about snafus in women's health recommendations including but not limited to the mammogram thing, and asks "Has feminism been replaced by the pink-ribbon breast cancer cult?"  For more reading on said "PRBC cult," you can check out Pink Ribbons, Inc., and

(To be excruciatingly clear up front: I have nothing against breast cancer research or advocacy, but feel it's time to stop lining Yoplait's and Kitchenaid's pockets -- much as I love a good heirloom-quality stand mixer -- and start asking hard questions about environmental causes and prevention.)

And that's the past several weeks in women's health!

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